Turkey´s only regularly functioning vulture feeding station continues to surprise us: over the last few months it has attracted a lot of vultures and other wildlife. Maximum daily counts include 110 black vultures feeding together (in August), and daily maxima of 5 griffon vultures, 5 Egyptian vultures, 5 bearded vultures, 12 Imperial eagles, 3 white-tailed eagles and over 200 ravens (in September-October). The station also attracts wolves and bears – in the last 3 months 7 different wolves and 4 different bears have visited it.
The feeding station, on the mountain plateau near Dortdivan, Bolu, about 100km northwest from the capital Ankara, is run by Ornitofoto, a small Turkish NGO focussed on documenting Turkey´s bird life, and has been operating for two years. There is a small hide from where visitors can observe/photograph the wildlife.
Turkey has significant vulture populations, but also many threats. Electrocution and poison seem to be significant mortality factors limiting some of the vulture populations there. For the vultures in the area – including a healthy population of black vultures, some bearded vultures, griffon vultures on migration and the odd Egyptian vulture pair – a safe feeding area is very important, keeping them away from potential poison.
With the help of a generous Norwegian donor, the VCF is providing financial (and also technical) support to this project, securing some essential maintenance costs. A local employee collects carrion (mostly dead poultry from the many local chicken farms) on a regular basis and delivers it to the station. The hide has turned out to be very popular with nature photographers, who can book it for a small fee and thus take pictures of vultures and other wildlife. Until now almost 200 people have already used the hide. If you want to visit please contact Burak Dogansoysal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(All photos by Emin Yogurtcuoglu)